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    • Heather

      Mormon Hub Rules - Please be familiar with these rules before posting   04/17/08

        Any views expressed on Mormon Hub are independent of and do not represent the views of Mormon Hub, More Good Foundation, or Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Site Rules 1. Do not post, upload, or otherwise submit anything to the site that is derogatory towards The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, its teachings, or its leaders. Anti-LDS Propaganda will not be tolerated anywhere. 2. Please be conscious of the fact that although Mormon Hub is aimed towards an LDS audience, that the membership of this site consists of friends from an array of different backgrounds, beliefs, and cultures. Please be respectful and courteous to all, and know that everyone who is willing to follow the Rules and Terms of Mormon Hub are welcome to participate and be a member of Mormon Hub. Keep in mind that anything posted, uploaded, or otherwise displayed on the site should be understandable to friends of other faiths as well as to members. 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    • rpframe

      IMPORTANT!! -- Login Issues   09/12/17

      TL;DR; In order to fix login issues, a lot of people will have to reset their password. As of now, if you are unable to login, please attempt a "Forgot Password"/"Password Reset" (check your spam folder) and if that doesn't work then feel free to Contact Us, for help and please check back on this post for any status updates and FAQs as we go through this process. FAQ:
      [Reserved Space]
      Firstly, I'd like to apologize on behalf of MormonHub for the frustration of the login system. There is a lot of cool things we could do with the login system, and having the logins synced up between our forum system and our front end system has been nice, but for multiple reasons (not just the current login issues), we have decided to move back to the earlier login system. While I would love to be able to migrate everyone's current passwords back, but the systems are just not compatible that way. So a large number of users will need to do a password reset. We realize that we forced everyone to do this on the move to the new system, and we sincerely apologize to everyone that will have to do it again. The Login System has now been swapped over. Give us a little bit of time to work out kinks in the system (will post updates here). If you are unable to login anymore, then please perform a password reset (check spam folder) and if that fails and we don't have any acknowledgement of problems on this post (No known problems at this time), then feel free to contact us (keeping in mind that there are a lot of you and very few of us).

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Our LDS volunteer handed me a paper that neatly summarizes some major doctrinal differences between The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and other Christian churches. The first 13 are lifted from the Articles of Faith. I figured that I would simply put an LDS teaching down directly, then quote from the Statement of Faith at the National Association of Evangelicals official site, and let us engage in a discussion of comparisons, contrasts, thoughts about the importance of the similarities and differences, and see what mutual understanding we can re-affirm, or even build.

I'm told that that this is a paraphrase. If so, it's not mine, but comes from the paper the LDS volunteer gave me:

1. LDS:  A belief in the Godhead of Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost.  And that they are separate personages. We are devout Christians.

NAE:  We believe that there is one God, eternally existent in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Initial questions for discussion (feel free to raise more)

What is the difference between "personage" and "person"?

Why might the phrase "we are devout Christians" have been added here?

Is the discussion about Trinity vs. LDS Godhead really just semantics and straining at gnats, or is it a vitally important one related to the very doctrine of who God is, or perhaps something in between (in other words, the two teachings are more similar than different, but not the same)?

 

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My understanding is this: both LDS and NAE believe there is the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, yet there can only be one God.

For NAE, pursuant to the Nicene Creed, the three have to be "consubstantial" somehow for there to be one God.

For LDS, it is enough for the three to be unified in purpose.  This looks like tritheism to some, but we believe the three being unified in purpose, with God the Father as the clear leader, is still within monotheism.

It is, on the surface, a microscopic difference, probably poorly understood by the average Evangelical or Mormon.  That said, the term "consubstantial", while small, could never be accepted by LDS, since it messes up a number of very central doctrines down the line.  For example, LDS believe in eternal progression, which is impossible if the term "consubstantial" is required, since we cannot become like a traditionally trinitarian God.  I think the concept of eternal marriage as understood by LDS would also be incompatible with "consubstantiality".

So, LDS and NAE are so close, yet so far, regarding this doctrinal point.

@prisonchaplain

 

Edited by DoctorLemon

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@DoctorLemon's post caused me to consider another phrase from the NAE statement--that the three persons are ETERNALLY existent as one God in 3 persons. That does touch on eternal progression--but also, perhaps less directly, on the doctrine of human exaltation. Thoughts?

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50 minutes ago, prisonchaplain said:

1) What is the difference between "personage" and "person"?

2) Why might the phrase "we are devout Christians" have been added here?

3) Is the discussion about Trinity vs. LDS Godhead really just semantics and straining at gnats, or is it a vitally important one related to the very doctrine of who God is, or perhaps something in between (in other words, the two teachings are more similar than different, but not the same)?

1) Personage is an approximate form which would encompass spirits.  A "person" means that one has a definite form (i.e. a physical body).
2) Because we are.  And despite others' desire to exclude us from that appellation, we don't accept that classification of "non-Christians."
3) It's not semantics.  But it may be straining at gnats since the way we relate to the Godhead is virtually identical to how you might relate to the Trinity.  We do, after all, worship them as one.

Edited by Carborendum

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19 minutes ago, Carborendum said:

1) Personage is an approximate form which would encompass spirits.  A "person" means that one has a definite form (i.e. a physical body).
2) Because we are.  And despite others' desire to exclude us from that appellation, we don't accept that classification of "non-Christians."
3) It's not semantics.  But it may be straining at gnats since the way we relate to the Godhead is virtually identical to how you might relate to the Trinity.

Your #1 answer is one that the NAE would struggle with, since traditional Christian teaching is that the Father and Spirit do not have physical bodies. Also, do we not all agree that the Holy Spirit is non-corporeal?

#2. Yes, of course. However, the statement is added to this particular doctrine. I suppose it could just be that this is the first teaching on the list. However, I'm wondering if the "We are Christians" gets placed here because for other Christian churches the doctrine of God is treated as a non-negotiable?

#3. I tend to agree that to call the disagreement a matter of semantics is too dismissive of the doctrine. On the other hand, your statement that we relate to God in very similar ways tends to get overlooked. Thank you for hitting an appropriate balance here.

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On #2 - pretty sure @Carborendum is right - we are so used to people telling us we're not Christian that it makes perfect sense to throw that statement in just to preempt the accusation and move straight into the "well not by our definition" phase.

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7 minutes ago, prisonchaplain said:

@zil, so do you believe the "we're Christian" phrase is placed with the first doctrine, to get the argument out of the way, or because it addresses the doctrine of God (which is so important to us all)?

Guessing, obviously, but I think it's because these differing definitions of "God" are why people say we're not Christian - it's not because we don't behave properly, it's because we define "God" improperly.  Given that, it seems like the logical place to put it.

Edited by zil

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50 minutes ago, prisonchaplain said:

@DoctorLemon's post caused me to consider another phrase from the NAE statement--that the three persons are ETERNALLY existent as one God in 3 persons. That does touch on eternal progression--but also, perhaps less directly, on the doctrine of human exaltation. Thoughts?

Sorry, this is my non-religious historian thoughts coming through here...but not an analysis...just a thought in the moment...

This is the very similar (or the same thing depending on the sect) the Hindu religion believes in their dominant Deity.  It was a popular idea taken from Eastern Religions Westward (towards Constantinople and other regions) in the Early years AD.

Or rather, that their dominant deity known also as the Trinity, or Triumverate or the Trimurti of the Hindi religions.  Brahma is the Creator, which is probably directly correlated to that of the Christian Trinity of the Father.  Shiva on the otherhand is the destroyer, so no real parallel in the Christian trinity.  Vishnu is the intermediary, and is very much in many ways similar to the Christian trinity of the Son.  Vishnu comes to restore the balance, coming in incarnations and leaving.

A way to view Christianity is the incursion of pagan ideas into the Christian religion as it progressed.  One way to view the struggles of the 2nd through 6th centuries in regards to the role of Deity and definitions of it is that between those who felt that the three individuals of the Christian theology were separate individuals (and some Evangelical historians have sought to DESTROY history by implying that it was as struggle between divine and non-divine when that was not necessarily the case in all instances of Arianism vs. Athanasius, rather it was a difference between seeing it in a HINDU Deity deferential, verses that of seeing them as NON-consubstantial).

Prior to Constantine, the prevalent Christian thought was actually more along the line of Arianism, which is NOT how many have tried to describe it, but more the idea that The Father, and The Son were different beings.  Some sects were more like how Islam came to portray them, in that the Father was of divine substance, while the Son was NOT of this same substance, but of a different substance, that being a mortal as you and I.

HOWEVER, something that is constantly ignored by many who try to make their point is that this was NOT the only viewpoint in Arianism, and in fact, NOT the one that troubled those who followed the ideas of Athanasius.  This was more of the idea that BOTH were of a DIFFERENT DIVINITY, but NOT of the same substance.  Hence, that the Father was Divine, but the Son was also co-equal.

Some have accused Mormonism of being Arianism revived in our day (though I'd say Islam is more akin to the Arianism of that time period).  Ironically, Mormons may actually have been seen as being party to Athanasius's creed, but in a varied and smaller sect.

In this, we can say that Mormons believe that all power comes from the Father, and that the Father and the Son are one.  That all the power of the Son comes from the Father, and that the Son is literally the Son of the Father.  In this, one could even argue that Mormons believe that the Son is of the same substance of the Father in the same way that a babe is the same substance as it's mother, or created of the same stuff.

It is not as Arianism would posit, of completely DIFFERENT fiber, of completely different stuff.  For example, if we take a more Islamic approach, you have clothes made of wool, and clothes made of cotton.  These are two entirely different substances.  In this, the Father is of one, and divine, while the Son, or the Prophet rather, is made of another, or Mortal like all other men.

On the otherhand, Mormons believe that the Son is of the creation and substance of the father in creation, aka...as You have one shirt of wool made from a sheep, you can also have another entirely different shirt made from the same wool of that same sheep.  In this, the substance is not Consubstantial as many current Trinitarians believe, but it IS of the same substance, or the same make and composed of the same type of matter.  They are the Same substance, but very much individual Shirts.

In this, Mormons do not entirely believe in the Arianism that some believe they do, but it is NOT exactly the same as current Trinitarians believe either.  Trinitarians must take a similar view as the Hindu's in that their deity is comprehensible, and yet, because of the very nature, incomprehensible.  The reason is such...

We take this shirt again, but this shirt is made from the Wool of a Sheep.  This shirt is only ONE shirt, but at the same time is manifest by THREE DIFFERENT shirts.  They are three separate shirts, and yet, they are also the SAME shirt.  Hence, we can comprehend that they are one, we can comprehend that they are three, but for our limited minds, it is very hard to comprehend that all three are simply just that one shirt.

 

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------break

I bring in the Hindu religion because we see many aspects of it in our Current Christian eschatology.  Ironically, many religious professors (as opposed to some Historians) do not study these similarities (though they will try to make arguments of WHY their religion is not similar while misunderstanding some very basic concepts in Hinduism or other pagan religions) and do not realize how much they have added to the Christian religions beyond that which is written or described in the bible.

For example, you will NOT find the trinity found anywhere in the bible.  The strongest verse in support of it, ironically is also used by the Mormons to show why the trinity must also be separate individuals (which, is actually supported by the trinity as well) which is the Baptism of our Lord.  More ironically, the strongest verses in support of the Trinity were actually spoken by Abinadi in the Book of Mosiah found in the Book of Mormon (in a way which I'd even say is almost distinctly Baptist in how it describes it, though from an LDS viewpoint it is seen to say something entirely different). 

However, it is interesting to see how this idea of the trinity eventually came forth.  Arianism was actually the more popular idea at the time of the councils, and it was only through a great deal of strife and hardship (some would say, only by a miracle held up by the hand of the Lord that the trinity was eventually upheld by the main church of the time and has now been accepted throughout the world) that the current ideas of the trinity gained prevalence in what became the Catholic/Orthodox churches. 

We can see OTHER influences of paganism on Christianity through the years, such that of Female/Mother worship, that of a Fall Festival being celebrated at the same time (aka the solstice celebrations) as that of Christian celebrations and other things.  In fact, we can see a very huge turn of Christianity to that of paganism in regards to religious practice and belief.

In this, perhaps the Baptists ideas that the only true document for authority lies in the Bible could be correct for them, and thus do away with centuries of added on ideas.  Yet, even then, many ideas that are not found in the Bible (for example, another that most of us Americans love is the holiday of Christmas.  There IS the birth of our Lord found in the New Testament, but no where is a celebration of it around Winter's Solstice to be found in the Bible) are still utilized in their belief systems.

The same could be seen in ALL Christian religions, including Mormonism.  In all of them, from a secular point of view, they mix tradition, culture, and other rituals from other sources (religions, ancestry, etc.) into their religious beliefs.  It's the grand intermixing of culture, tradition, and various tribal beliefs from the past to the present.

Of course, the question here is regarding the belief in Deity and how it is defined, rather than all these other assimilations from other religions into Christianity.

In that idea, from anyone who is NOT part of Christianity, there is actually VERY LITTLE difference between what a Trinitarian believes, and what Mormons believe.

In fact, it is probably as great as many of the Hindu sects various believes in their own Triumverate or Trimurti.  The similarties of the differences are striking.  To Christians, most couldn't or wouldn't recognize the differences between various sects of Hinduism.  To them, they all believe in the basic same principles.

In that light, whether one believes in the Trinity, in modality, or in Mormon's unique take, there is actually not much difference and from the outside looking in, it is almost literally the same belief to everyone else.  That they would make such a big deal of such a small thing difference is, in some ways, rather hilarious...

Which brings us to the point that a Hindu would probably conclude...

If the Christians are correct and the Hindu religion is not...

The Deity of the Christian religion must have a sense of humor...

(sorry, just some LOOONG thoughts from my more historical ideas rather than my religions ones in this post...might be seen as sort of irreligious from any Christian without a sense of humor though...and yes, that includes Mormons in that...).

 

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Personally I think the 'we are devout Christians' statement seems like a defensive jump the gun move.  I agree to the reason it was placed there, as others have indicated, but it's still kind of annoying to even bother to put it there in the first place.

I almost don't care if people think I'm a Christian or not anymore. Over time I have become less tolerant of anti and uneducated perspectives that people could usually answer themselves with 5 min or less of research.  The worst thing they can do is tell me I'm going to hell* for believing in a different Jesus.  I could tell them they are going to hell** for not having a proper baptism; although I don't.  They wouldn't even understand.

*Hell -> Eternal punishment without end

**Hell -> Temporary Spirit Prison

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1 hour ago, prisonchaplain said:

1. LDS:  A belief in the Godhead of Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost.  And that they are separate personages. We are devout Christians.

NAE:  We believe that there is one God, eternally existent in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Actually, these both apply equally to both NAE and LDS.  

1 hour ago, prisonchaplain said:

What is the difference between "personage" and "person"?

I don't see one at all.  (I realize this disagree's with @Carborendum's answer.  

1 hour ago, prisonchaplain said:

Why might the phrase "we are devout Christians" have been added here?

When you devote your life to Christ, it comes up pretty dang early in the conversation.  And when you spend a lot of your life having other Christian* deny flat out deny your relationship with Christ, it prompts a person to make sure it comes up super early as to skip the "you don't know Christ!" stupidity.   I do, and yeah I'm going to say it early, loud, and clear. 

*Realistically a fair amount of people don't do this.  But admittedly it feels like everyone sometimes.

1 hour ago, prisonchaplain said:

Is the discussion about Trinity vs. LDS Godhead really just semantics and straining at gnats, or is it a vitally important one related to the very doctrine of who God is, or perhaps something in between (in other words, the two teachings are more similar than different, but not the same)?

The more and more I study it, except when talking about exaltation (or lack thereof), the concepts are crazy similar.  Especially when it seems like a lot of Creedal Christians do not really have a working definition of "consubstantial"-- or at least one I've been able to understand (which may be me just being super-dense-- that's VERY possible).   I feel that a lot of LDS misunderstand Creedal beliefs (thinking trinity = modalism) and a lot of Creedal Christians misunderstand LDS beliefs (thinking Godhead = polytheism).  True understanding... they're not that different.  And speaking functionally for day-to-day this difference really doesn't matter at all (again, exceptions for discussions about heavenly fates).

Honestly I feel that some Christian idea like predestination or OSAS create WAY WAY larger differences to the idea of who God is than 'oneness via consubstantial' or 'oneness via unity'/  

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20 minutes ago, zil said:

Guessing, obviously, but I think it's because these differing definitions of "God" are why people say we're not Christian - it's not because we don't behave properly, it's because we define "God" improperly.  Given that, it seems like the logical place to put it.

To the Hindu, or the Muslim, or the Buddhist...they probably are NOT going to make a differentiation...we are all lumped together as Christians.

Now, with a more religious slant...

I think a LOT of the hoopla people toss on in regards to needing to understand the direct correlation of WHAT the relation of the Father and the Son is, is a bunch of hogwash.

People who JUDGE that someone is going to HELL based upon that idea...have ignored Matthew 7:1-2.

We are NOT to say someone is going to go to Hell, we are NOT their judge.  The ONLY judge is the Lord.

In fact, I don't recall Christ ever saying...you have to have a perfect understanding of what I'm composed of and my unique relationship to go to heaven.  In fact, those who would MOST understand this idea and correlation were those he constantly condemned (the Pharisees and Saducees).

Instead, normally those who would have the least understanding of this, were those who constantly said would go to heaven.  It was because of their humility to listen to him and to follow him and his teachings that he praised many who were seen as horrible sinners, the poor, and the outcast.

I don't think it matters WHAT one knows of the Lord or who he is. What matters is to ACCEPT him and his atonement, and to try to LIVE how he told us to do (obey his commandments and his example).  If we do this, in that we follow him, we are doing already what he commanded us.

Those who make a mountain out of a molehill, I think are more like the Pharisees and Saducees and missing the big picture of it all (to follow him) in their desire to show that they are right...rather than to try to see how the great love of our Savior makes it possible for ALL men to come unto the Lord if they just will turn their hearts to him and do as he bid...to follow him.

 

(Matthew 16:24, Mark 8:34, Luke 9:23).

Too often we focus on what we find as different to try to say that we are right and someone else is wrong, rather than focus on what is important...the words the Lord gave us that can bring about our salvation.

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Interesting thoughts. As far as personage and persons go I think others have answered this question ably. We worship one God composed of three seperate physically but united purposelly beings. The addition of "we are Christian" to me sounds like the beginning of a defensive statement. Most of us, especially those like me who grew up in predominantly Evangelical and Protestant areas, are used to defending ourselves immediately from the charge that we don't follow Christ. It isn't neccessary in a scholarly discussion, but it's a knee jerk reaction too years of being told otherwise. It took me a long time to stop being hurt by that statement. Like everyone here I love Jesus Christ with all my heart, I have a personal relationship with him, and I know I am saved by His Grace. Because I know this, the accusations have lost some of their sting as I've gotten older, but part of me still jumps to the defense when I hear them so I think that's just what's happening in the paper you described.

Edited by Midwest LDS

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Does it really matter?  Seriously....  (please note, I am asking this with all due sincerity, because it is a conversation that I have had with my friends who are still evangelical and don't understand why I became a Mormon)

Because whether the Godhead is composed of three separate and distinct personages or is three in one, what changes?

Does the need for our atonement?

Or Salvation?

Or baptism, or good works, or service to others, or the fulfillment of the great commission?

No, not a single one of these core doctrines of the Christian faith (traditional, LDS, or otherwise) changes....  I think it is fair to say that the both Mormons and traditional Christians can point to various scriptures that would give credence to one side or the other.  But regardless of how we interpret those scriptures (and reasonable people can have different interpretations) those core principals of our faith don't change.  How we put them into practice may, but the principals themselves don't.

But this site is one of the few places on the internet where people from different backgrounds can actually come and talk about doctrinal differences without having to deal with the various trolls out there who are quick to condemn you to hell because you don't see eye to eye on every single item of doctrine they believe in.  I really have come to appreciate Mormonhub.com for that!  

Despite the different outlooks we find here I find it very comforting that people here actually seem to be interested in following the admonition we are given in 2 Nephi 33:10 - ...If you believe not in these words then believe in Christ....  it is such a blessing that everyone here seems to be interested in helping others do just that ! :) 

 

Edited by warnerfranklin
spelling and grammar errors

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10 minutes ago, prisonchaplain said:

Your #1 answer is one that the NAE would struggle with, since traditional Christian teaching is that the Father and Spirit do not have physical bodies. Also, do we not all agree that the Holy Spirit is non-corporeal?

#2. Yes, of course. However, the statement is added to this particular doctrine. I suppose it could just be that this is the first teaching on the list. However, I'm wondering if the "We are Christians" gets placed here because for other Christian churches the doctrine of God is treated as a non-negotiable?

#3. I tend to agree that to call the disagreement a matter of semantics is too dismissive of the doctrine. On the other hand, your statement that we relate to God in very similar ways tends to get overlooked. Thank you for hitting an appropriate balance here.

Thank you for #3.

#1: Yes.  Hence "personage".  Perhaps you do not know what we deem as "spirit."  While it may not be physical as we tend to think of our physical world, we still believe it has a form of sorts and it resembles our physical bodies in appearance.

#2: I'm not sure about the intent. Granted.  I also don't know how others receive / interpret it.  But if it were me, I believe I'd be saying it to make the declaration that whatever others say or believe about us, we believe and declare ourselves to be Disciples of Christ.

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1 hour ago, person0 said:

I almost don't care if people think I'm a Christian or not anymore. Over time I have become less tolerant of anti and uneducated perspectives that people could usually answer themselves with 5 min or less of research.  The worst thing they can do is tell me I'm going to hell* for believing in a different Jesus.  I could tell them they are going to hell** for not having a proper baptism; although I don't.  They wouldn't even understand.

Please do not give up on people who are operating on INCOMPLETE information.

I used to be one of those people who thought Mormons were cultist.  I used to be one of those people who, for many years, couldn't look past doctrine and see LDS members for the Christians that they are.  

But I had the fortune of dealing with members of my ward who understood that I was working with incomplete information and despite some of the ill advised things I know I must have said to them over the years they still reached out to me.  They never treated me like anything other than another brother in Christ.  And as I got to know them.  As I was able to see past doctrine and to the important things like the fruit of the spirit that most bear in abundance I was able to see them as brothers in sisters in Christ too!  

Does this mean that they will become Mormons in the end.  For most, probably not.  But for those who are even minded they will, eventually, move past the doctrinal differences and concentrate on the things we have in common as Christians.  

Please don't respond in kind as you will only be confirming what they suspect.  If someone challenges your faith don't argue with them.  Let them have their say and then explain what and why our church teaches a certain doctrinal principal and leave it at that.  Find ways to help them, as we are told in 2 Nephi 33:10 to follow Christ.  

Our kindness may be the most persuasive argument of what we believe.  President Hinckley

God bless you!

Edited by warnerfranklin
Added quote from President Hinckley

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3 hours ago, zil said:

Guessing, obviously, but I think it's because these differing definitions of "God" are why people say we're not Christian - it's not because we don't behave properly, it's because we define "God" improperly.  Given that, it seems like the logical place to put it.

I agree that this is the likely reason.

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2 hours ago, Jane_Doe said:

 Especially when it seems like a lot of Creedal Christians do not really have a working definition of "consubstantial"-- or at least one I've been able to understand ...

My simple explanation of the difference is that LDS believe the Godhead is made up of 3 separate beings who agree on all purpose, whereas Trinitarians believe that the Godhead is made up of three persons who are the one actual or essential (con (with) substance (essence)) God. Where we traditionalists get in trouble is trying to explain more than what the Bible says. All it says is that the three persons are indeed distinct, and yet they are truly one. Perhaps LDS find the idea of one purpose as a logical way to explain it, but historically the church has said we really can't explain God's oneness, but it is a true/actual/essential oneness, despite the distinctness of their persons. 

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It seems to me that all of us Christians are trying to tiptoe around the shemat and explain how revering both God and His Son as dieties doesn’t take us outside the monotheistic bounds set in the Old Testament.  I wonder whether we might all save ourselves some heartburn if we admit that most of the OT’s focus on “one god” was in a sense rhetorical, geared towards getting Israel to avoid buying into the Canaanite/Babylonian/Greek/Roman notions of chaotic pantheons full of warring gods.

The thing about consubstantiality, as I understand it, is that you *could* apply it to the Mormon idea of the Godhead if you say that the “stuff” of consubstantiality is spirit itself—a substance that in LDS teaching has some sort of uncreated core, but is still capable of refinement and union with a physical body.

The thing is, given the Mormon definition of the human soul (as, fundamentally, a spirit temporarily cloaked in an earthy body); Mormonism basically says that the Trinity’s consubstantiality actually encompasses the entire human race.  Mormonism then teaches that humans are free to reject their consubstantiality—or to embrace it by subjecting themselves to a refining process that makes their spirits more like God’s and which, through Christ’s grace, might ultimately make them members of the divine council in a way that mainline Christianity deems blasphemous.

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4 hours ago, JohnsonJones said:

Sorry, this is my non-religious historian thoughts coming through here...but not an analysis...just a thought in the moment...

This is the very similar (or the same thing depending on the sect) the Hindu religion believes in their dominant Deity.  It was a popular idea taken from Eastern Religions Westward (towards Constantinople and other regions) in the Early years AD.

Or rather, that their dominant deity known also as the Trinity, or Triumverate or the Trimurti of the Hindi religions. 

I'm no expert, but a couple of different sources (one Protestant, the other Catholic) indicated that the Hindu triumverate developed AFTER the Trinity doctrine began to be formulated, and that there is little evidence that the Hindu teaching informed the Christian one.

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4 hours ago, JohnsonJones said:

People who JUDGE that someone is going to HELL based upon that idea...have ignored Matthew 7:1-2.

We are NOT to say someone is going to go to Hell, we are NOT their judge.  The ONLY judge is the Lord.

 

I'm going to push back at this a bit. We judge the sin, not the sinner. But, does that mean we judge the heresy and not the heretic? I'm not so sure. The Apostle Paul seemed to contend quite a bit with "the Judaizers" (who tried to force Gentiles to undergo circumcision). Further, LDS do not accept Protestant/Catholic baptism. This is proper, as our doctrines and understandings are different. However, if we take Jesus' admonition against "judging" too far, even that logical decision could be called "judging."

Personally, I'm loathe to tell anyone they are going to hell. On the other hand, when our differences in understanding who God, Jesus, and even humans are is so dramatically different, it's pretty fair to say that we don't share like precious faith. On the other hand, we all worship Father, Son, Holy Spirit--one Godhead. We all believe the Bible, and most of our spiritual heroes and heroines are the same. So...hey, we always hurt the ones we love, right?  ;)

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4 hours ago, warnerfranklin said:

Does it really matter?  Seriously....  (please note, I am asking this with all due sincerity, because it is a conversation that I have had with my friends who are still evangelical and don't understand why I became a Mormon)

Because whether the Godhead is composed of three separate and distinct personages or is three in one, what changes?

For one, if God is 3 distinct personages, united only in purpose, then the Great Apostasy is true, and historic Christians would do well to do what you did, and convert. If God is a Holy Trinity, then the 1,800 year survival of this formal doctrine may bear witness to the error of the Great Apostasy doctrine. The Church went through some errors, and other Christian groups arose--but all agree on what God's nature is.

Does the need for our atonement?

Again, yes. If the LDS Godhead is correct then, whew! I'm going to the Terrestial Heaven anyway...but again, then we ought to be looking to convert, right?  See, this string works both ways--it can reassure or it can bring cause to wonder.

Or Salvation?

Again yes. If the LDS Godhead is right, I'm already saved and heaven bound--is is almost everyone. If it's wrong, then how wrong can one be about God and be okay? I ask that sincerely, because I've been asked there here, and I really don't have the answer. Will the LDS Godhead (if not polytheistic, perhaps henotheistic--if it is wrong) be a close enough understanding of who God is?  BTW, I've wondered the same about Oneness Pentecostals, who believe Jesus is Father, Son and Holy Spirit (modalism). I'm not answering the question or condemning, but raising the question.

Or baptism, or good works, or service to others, or the fulfillment of the great commission?

Here we all know the answers are yes, because we do not recognize each other's baptisms, nor do we fully consider each other's missionary efforts to be fulfilling the Great Commission. We respect each other's good works, sincere efforts, kind friendship, and tolerant conversations--and none of that should be undervalued.

 

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30 minutes ago, Just_A_Guy said:

The thing is, given the Mormon definition of the human soul (as, fundamentally, a spirit temporarily cloaked in an earthy body); Mormonism basically says that the Trinity’s consubstantiality actually encompasses the entire human race.  Mormonism then teaches that humans are free to reject their consubstantiality—or to embrace it by subjecting themselves to a refining process that makes their spirits more like God’s and which, through Christ’s grace, might ultimately make them members of the divine council in a way that mainline Christianity deems blasphemous.

It's a great point that the issue of who God is (LDS vs. Traditional Christianity) gains urgency when it is discussed in conjunction with who we are.  Tradition says God is God and we are not and never shall be. Further, that God is eternal and nothing else is. Thus, God and Jesus having separate bodies greatly complicates things for us! If we are all of eternal substance, and have all been spiritually connected with the Godhead throughout eternity, then an LDS Godhead vs. Trinity probably becomes close to meaningless.

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46 minutes ago, prisonchaplain said:

 

1.  For one, if God is 3 distinct personages, united only in purpose, then the Great Apostasy is true, and historic Christians would do well to do what you did, and convert. If God is a Holy Trinity, then the 1,800 year survival of this formal doctrine may bear witness to the error of the Great Apostasy doctrine. The Church went through some errors, and other Christian groups arose--but all agree on what God's nature is.

Here is a point we will have to disagree on.  And to be honest, perhaps my evangelical perspective plays into this, but I do think there was a corruption of the church.  And here I am speculating, if everything was fine during the middle ages, why were there so many attempts at course correction during those times.  Not just with Luther, but also with the Anabaptist and others (who were wiped out by the catholic church)?

2.  Again, yes. If the LDS Godhead is correct then, whew! I'm going to the Terrestial Heaven anyway...but again, then we ought to be looking to convert, right?  See, this string works both ways--it can reassure or it can bring cause to wonder.

I think there is a misunderstanding on your part (an observation not a criticism).  The LDS church teaches salvation and the need for it.  As well as the need for atonement.  Do we teach in hell - yes, a different sort maybe, but hell none the less.  Perhaps because my view of Hell aligns up w/ CS Lewis' view, "In the end their will only be two types of people, those who say to God thy will be done and to whom others God says thy will be done."  The Great Divorce.  I feel the LDS doctrine is similar.

3.  Here we all know the answers are yes, because we do not recognize each other's baptisms, nor do we fully consider each other's missionary efforts to be fulfilling the Great Commission. We respect each other's good works, sincere efforts, kind friendship, and tolerant conversations--and none of that should be undervalued.

Many churches, the Catholic Church is a good example, also expect one to be baptized when you join their denomination.  How is that any different?  Personally, when I became LDS and was told I had to be baptized again I sort of found the whole exercise to be redundant, but for those in my family who were already LDS it was a big deal so baptized again I became.  But as far as undervaluing this effort or that effort, the Christian church as a whole tends to do that.  Which is unfortunate.  We should all celebrate at the saving of a lost soul regardless of whether that soul decides to be catholic, evangelical, or whatever.

But PC, I think you are missing the bigger point (or perhaps I didn't make it well enough), is that as Christians, regardless of what flavor, we are all trying to serve Christ the best we can in what way we think will draw us closer to our Father.  I did not become LDS because I woke up one morning and decided that everything I believed in and cherished for four decades was wrong, because I didn't and and I don't (ask the guys I teach to in EQ about how evangelical I still tend to be and they could tell you).  CS Lewis tells us in his book Mere Christianity that disagreements between Christians of various denominations typically involve matters of church history and high theology and should only be discussed by those who are experts (which, arguably you are:)), and never in the presence of those outside our faith.  That such disagreements have the tendency of dissuading people outside our faith from joining any church to begin with....  

And that is my point about getting hung up on who has the "most correct" doctrine.  As an evangelical I spent more time arguing with friends who were catholic and baptist and Mormon and what have you about points of doctrine.  And you know what?  Never once did I hear from any of them that they were going to leave their church and come join me over at the assemblies of god.  What I did hear an awful lot of was our non-christian friends and associates say, "You people can't even agree amoungst yourselves what is true and what is right.  Why in the world would I listen to any of you in the first place?"  Which interestingly enough is a slight variation of an observation made by a young Joseph Smith....

Do I believe the LDS doctrine is most correct?  Mostly, from what I understand of it (which is, admittedly, limited).  But the point is, we have to get someone in the kingdom of God first before we can worry about whether or not they wound up in the "correct" place.  And if we get them into the Kingdom of God the "correct place" is sort of moot.  One of my favorite LDS scripture verses is from 2 Nephi 33:10 and it states in part:  "If you believe not in these words then believe in Christ.... "  As a Christian it is not my job to convince anyone else to join my church.  It is my job to point you to Christ.  Not to the Prophet, not to the 12 or the 70, but to Christ, the savior of our souls.  If I can do that then I feel that I have done what I was commanded to do.

Sir, I always enjoy talking with you.  I love your sense of humor and respect your perspective.  Thank you for giving me something to ponder....:)

God bless you and keep you!

Edited by warnerfranklin
Added 2 Nephi 33:10 with comment

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7 hours ago, prisonchaplain said:

What is the difference between "personage" and "person"?

If we accept @Carborendum distinction (body vs. no body--pun not intended,), which I do,  then even for certain "devout Christians" this would mean the difference between God the Son (who would be considered a "personage" because of his resurrected body) and God the Father and God the Spirit. In other words, the Creeds ought to read: "Two persons and one personage in one God."

Now, the same does not apply to LDS since we recognize various types of bodies--i.e. spirit bodies (pre-mortal spirits--such as Christ before his incarnation, and the Holy Ghost throughout the history of mankind), mortal bodies (such as that possessed by us as well as Christ during his incarnation), and resurrected or spiritual bodies (such as that possessed by the perfect Father, and also that obtained by the Son when, on the third day following his death, he was perfected--i.e. resurrected). So, for LDS, all three of the members of the Godhead are and have been " personages."

As for the meaning of "person," t depends upon whether the "devout Christian" is a classical Trinitarian, a social/relational-Trinitarian, or a Oneness Christian.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

 

 

Edited by wenglund

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